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Enabling TPM for Windows 11 upgrade on 2018-2021 Windows 10 PCs

Was your computer manufactured between 2018 and 2021 and still running Windows 10 because you have yet to be prompted to upgrade to Windows 11? If so, it could be Windows 11 compatible and needs a feature turned on. Here is how to enable the Trusted Platform Module (TPM) in your computer.

Enabling TPM for Windows 11 Upgrade on 2018-2021 Windows 10 PCs

One of the services we offer is to perform a clean installation of Windows. When doing clean installs, I find that most systems manufactured between 2018 and 2021 do not have the TPM enabled. Once I enable the TPM, I usually will do a clean installation of Windows 11 instead of Windows 10.

So, what is the TPM? The TPM is a microchip that provides hardware-based security functions. It is designed to provide a secure foundation for various security-related functions, such as BitLocker drive encryption, Windows Hello, secure boot, and more. By providing a secure environment for sensitive operations, TPM helps protect the system's integrity and the data's confidentiality.

The first version of the TPM, 1.2, started to appear in computers in 2006 and was a dedicated chip. TPM version 2.0 (the version required by Windows 11) began to appear in computers in 2018 and is a firmware extension of the CPU (Central Processing Unit). Between 2018 and 2021, the TPM function of most computers was turned off by default, as no version of Windows required it.

Then, in 2021, Microsoft released Windows 11 and changed the hardware requirements for Windows. Windows 11 now requires a TPM version 2.0 for Windows 11 to be installed. There were registry hacks and other ways to get around it, but Microsoft quickly patched those flaws.

So, the first thing you need to do is find out the status of the TPM inside Windows 10. By bringing up the TPM Management console, you can see if a TPM is enabled and what version it is. To open the TPM Management console, perform either of the following:

  • Open a RUN dialog box by pressing the Windows logo key Windows logo key + R, type tpm.msc in the Open field, and left-click on OK.
    or
  • Open a search box by pressing the Windows logo key Windows logo key + S, type tpm.msc, and choose tpm.msc Microsoft Common Console Document.

Once the TPM Management console appears, it will tell you if a TPM is enabled and what version it is.
TPM status inside of Windows 10
If it states that a compatible TPM could not be found, you will have to either research the system/motherboard specifications online or boot your computer into the BIOS (Basic Input/Output System) / UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface).

Now, before you research online or boot into the BIOS/UEFI, let's talk about what you will be looking for. The CPU manufacturers (Intel and AMD) have different names for implementing the TPM firmware extensions.

  • The TPM extension inside Intel processors is called Platform Trust Technology (PTT).
  • The TPM extension inside AMD processors is called Firmware TPM (fTPM).

The quickest and easiest way to check for a TPM is to boot your computer into the BIOS/UEFI. This may take several tries, as interrupting the booting cycle for your computer can be challenging. If you don't interrupt the boot process the first time, just let the computer boot to the login screen and restart it.

  1. Restart your computer and access the BIOS/UEFI settings. The method to access these settings varies depending on the manufacturer of your computer. Typically, you can access the BIOS/UEFI settings by pressing a specific key (such as F2, F10, or Del) during the boot process. Most of the time, pressing either the F2 or the Del key rapidly when the splash screen (the manufacturer logo) appears will get you into the BIOS/UEFI settings. Consult your computer's manual or the manufacturer's website for specific instructions.
  2. Once in the BIOS/UEFI settings, navigate to the Security or Advanced tab. Look for an option related to TPM or Security. The wording may vary depending on the manufacturer. Remember to look for PTT in systems with Intel processors and fTPM for systems with AMD processors.
  3. Enable the TPM feature and save the changes before exiting the BIOS/UEFI settings. Your computer will restart.
  4. After enabling TPM in the BIOS/UEFI settings, you can verify that it is enabled in Windows 10 by opening the TPM Management console (as previously outlined). It should now show that TPM is enabled.

Once the TPM is enabled, you can wait for Windows Update to offer the Windows 11 upgrade or manually upgrade Windows 10 to Windows 11. Enabling the Trusted Platform Module on computers manufactured between 2018 and 2021 running Windows 10 is an important step towards being able to upgrade to Windows 11. By following the steps outlined in this article, users can verify the presence and version of a TPM and enable it in the BIOS/UEFI.

How to take a screenshot in Windows 11

Screen capturing, or taking a screenshot, is a valuable tool for sharing information, troubleshooting issues, or simply saving an essential moment on your computer screen. But it is not really clear on how you do this inside of Windows 11. So, in this article, we show you how to take a screenshot in Windows 11.

How to take a screenshot in Windows 11

Use a keyboard shortcut to take a screenshot

The most straightforward way to take a screenshot on Windows 11 is to use the keyboard shortcut Windows logo key Windows logo key + Print Screen / PrtScn. This will capture the entire screen and automatically save the screenshot in the Screenshots folder in the Pictures directory.

Use the Snipping Tool to take a screenshot

If you want more control over your screenshot, you can use the Snipping Tool. To open the Snipping Tool, do either of the following:

  1. Left-click on the Start button Windows logo to bring up the Start menu.
  2. In the upper right-hand corner of the Start menu, left-click on All apps.
  3. Scroll down the list of programs and left-click on Snipping Tool.

Or you can open the Snipping Tool ready to start a capture using the keyboard shortcut Windows logo key Windows logo key + Shift + S. Once you open the tool, you can select the area of the screen you want to capture, annotate, and save the screenshot.

Use the Game Bar to take a screenshot

If you are a gamer and want to capture your gameplay, Windows 11 has a built-in Game Bar that allows you to take screenshots and even record your gameplay. To access the Game Bar, use the keyboard shortcut Windows logo key Windows logo key + G. From there, you can take a screenshot or record your gameplay.

The Game Bar has seven (7) Windows logo key Windows logo key shortcuts. For a list of all of the Windows logo key Windows logo key shortcuts, check out our blog, Windows logo key shortcuts for Windows 11.

Use Third-Party Apps to take a screenshot

If you prefer to use a third-party app for your screen-capturing needs, there are many options available for Windows 11. Some popular choices include LightShot, Greenshot, and ShareX. These apps offer more advanced features than the built-in Windows tools, such as capturing scrolling webpages, capturing specific windows, and sharing your screenshots directly to social media.

Now that you know the different ways to take a screenshot on Windows 11, it’s essential to organize your screenshots so that you can easily find them later. By default, Windows 11 will save your captures to a folder named Screenshots inside of either your Pictures or Videos folder. It just depends on what app you use.

In conclusion, taking a screenshot on Windows 11 is simple and can be done using various methods, including Windows logo keyboard shortcuts, built-in tools, and third-party apps. By following the tips and tricks outlined in this article, you can make the most of your screen-capturing experience and easily share important information with others.

What Copilot features can you turn off inside of Windows 11

Windows 11, with its array of impressive features, includes Copilot, an Artificial Intelligence (AI) tool. While this may be a boon for some, others might have concerns about its presence on their computer. If you're among the latter, here's a guide on what Copilot features you can turn off inside Windows 11.

What Copilot features can you turn off inside of Windows 11

Before I go any further, one question about Copilot needs to be answered: "Can Copilot be uninstalled?" The answer is no; it's built into Windows 11. But you have one option: turn off Copilot as much as possible, as it's impossible to remove it altogether.

There are now some registry hacks on the Internet for disabling Copilot. You can try them, but from everything I have read, they may or may not work. If I know Microsoft, they will fix the ability to disable Copilot in the registry in a future update. I've seen it happen before.

There is also a Group Policy hack out on the Internet that is supposed to disable Copilot. Still, the problem is that you can only edit the Group Policy in the Professional and Enterprise versions of Windows 11. Windows 11 Home users cannot modify the Group Policy.

With CPU vendors (Intel and AMD) developing processors with special areas for AI, AI is not going away. You can bet that Microsoft will take advantage of these new AI-enabled processors to run Copilot.

Microsoft introduced Copilot as an AI assistant integrated into Microsoft 365 and Windows 11, including Microsoft Edge. While this may seem helpful, some users prefer to turn it off for privacy or performance reasons.

Turning off Copilot features in Windows 11 is a straightforward process that can be completed in just a few clicks. Whether you're concerned about privacy or want to boost your PC's performance, turning off Copilot is a simple and effective solution.

If you wish to clear the data Copliot has collected, you can do so by resetting Copilot. You can even restrict what optional data Windows 11 sends back to Microsoft.

How to turn off Copilot in Microsoft Edge

  1. Left-click on the Microsoft Edge (wave) icon on the Taskbar.
  2. Left-click on the three (3) horizontal dots (...) in the upper right-hand corner and select Settings.
  3. In the left-hand column select Sidebar.
  4. In the right-hand column select Copilot.
    The setting for the displaying Copilot inside of Microsoft Edge
  5. Toggle the Show Copilot switch to the off position.

How to turn off Copilot on the Taskbar

  1. Left-clicking on the Start button Windows logo to bring up the Start menu.
  2. In the list of pinned apps on the Start menu, left-click on Settings.
  3. In the left-hand column, left-click on Personalization.
  4. In the right-hand column, left-click on Taskbar.
    The setting for the displaying Copilot on the Taskbar
  5. In the right-hand column, switch off Copilot in Windows (preview).

How to terminate, reset, or repair Copilot inside of Windows 11

  1. Left-clicking on the Start button Windows logo to bring up the Start menu.
  2. In the list of pinned apps on the Start menu, left-click on Settings.
  3. In the left-hand column, left-click on Apps.
  4. In the right-hand column, left-click on Installed apps.
  5. The right-hand column displays a list of all the installed apps. Find Microsoft Copilot, left-click on the three (3) horizontal dots (...) on the right, and select Advanced options.
    The advanced options for Copilot inside of Windows 11
  6. In the right-hand column, you will find buttons that allow you to Terminate, Repair, and Reset. You will notice that the Uninstall option is greyed out.

How to turn off optional data collection inside of Windows 11

  1. Left-clicking on the Start button Windows logo to bring up the Start menu.
  2. In the list of pinned apps on the Start menu, left-click on Settings.
  3. In the left-hand column, left-click on Privacy & Security.
  4. In the right-hand column, left-click on Diagnostics & feedback.
  5. In the Diagnostics & feedback section, you'll see an option called Send optional diagnostic data.
    The advanced options for diagnostics and feedback inside of Windows 11

Things to do before and after upgrading your computer to Windows 11

Are you planning on upgrading from Windows 10 to Windows 11? Before you do, there are a few things you should do to ensure a smooth transition. In this article, we'll look at a few things to do before and after upgrading your computer to Windows 11.

Things to do before and after upgrading your computer to Windows 11

Before upgrading to Windows 11

Check hardware compatibility

This is the first thing you need to do. Windows Update will typically prompt you to upgrade Windows 10 to Windows 11 if it sees that your computer has a Trusted Platform Module (TPM) version 2.0 enabled. This is the only hardware requirement that has changed between Windows 10 and Windows 11.

If your computer was built after 2018, it more than likely has a TPM 2.0 component. The problem is that manufacturers disabled the TPM prior to the release of Windows 11, as they felt it was not required for Windows 10, so why have it enabled by default?

So, computers built between 2018 and 2021 have a TPM 2.0 component included but not enabled. To enable the TPM 2.0 component, you will need to turn it on inside your system's BIOS (Basic Input/Output System). A quick check inside Windows 10 will tell you if the TPM component is enabled and what version it is.

Using a Run dialog box (Windows logo key Windows logo+ R) or Search box (Windows logo key Windows logo + S), you can check the status of the TPM component inside your system. Just type TPM.MSC into a Run dialog box and select OK, or type TPM.MSC into a Search box and choose tpm.msc Microsoft Common Console Document.

TPM status inside of Windows 10

When the TPM Management console opens, it should display the TPM's status and version. If you get a message stating that a compatible TPM cannot be found and your computer was manufactured between 2018 and 2021, you should check the website of the manufacturer of your computer/motherboard for a user manual to find instructions on how to enable the TPM.

Geek tip: If you ever have to replace the CMOS battery in your computer, the BIOS can reset itself to factory defaults. If the factory defaults had the TPM turned off, then things like Bitlocker drive encryption will not work correctly.

Check your drive for errors

You should definitely check the drive that has Windows installed on it for errors. You want to make sure the folders and files contained on it aren't damaged. There is nothing worse than getting halfway through the upgrade process only to get an error that causes the upgrade to fail.

How to run a standard disk check in Windows 10

  1. Open File Explorer using one of the following:
    • Left-click on the File Explorer icon (manilla folder) on the Taskbar.
    • Press the Windows logo key Windows logo + E at the same time.
    • Use the Power User menu by right-clicking on the Start Windows logo button and selecting File Explorer.
  2. In the left-side column, left-click on This PC.
  3. In the right-side column, right-click on the drive you want to check and select Properties.
  4. Left-click on the Tools tab.
  5. Under Error checking, left-click on Check.
  6. Left-click on Scan drive.

If you want to run an advanced disk check, follow the link below.

How to check your drive for errors in Windows 10

Backup your computer

As the old saying goes, "It's always better to be safe than sorry," and this couldn't be more true when it comes to your computer. Having a good 'bare metal' backup is essential when it comes to an operating system upgrade.

Yes, 99.99% of the time, nothing goes wrong with an in-place upgrade, but there is always the possibility. A full backup will definitely bring a greater degree of safety to the whole upgrade process.

Backup your files with File History and Windows Backup in Windows 10

If you decide to do a full 'bare metal' backup, you will definitely want to create a recovery drive just in case.

How to create a recovery drive in Windows 10 and Windows 11

Clean up the junk

Whether or not you upgrade your operating system, giving it a good cleaning can do wonders for your computer's performance, not to mention making the upgrade process a little bit simpler.

Removing temporary folders and files, emptying the recycle bin, and clearing out your downloads folder are just a few ways to prepare your computer before upgrading to Windows 11. Windows 10 has two (2) different programs built in to help with cleaning out junk.

Clean up your Windows 10 computer using the Storage feature

Clean up Windows 10 with Disk Cleanup

Uninstall unnecessary programs/apps

Over time, you may have installed programs that you no longer use. Before upgrading to Windows 11, it's a good idea to uninstall any unnecessary programs to free up space on your computer. This can also speed up the upgrade process and ensure Windows 11 runs smoothly.

How to uninstall a program or app in Windows 10

  1. Left-click on the Start Windows logo menu and left-click on the Gear (Settings) icon. It should be the second icon up from the bottom.
  2. Left-click on the Apps category.
  3. In the right-hand column, you will find a list of installed programs (App & features).
  4. Scroll down the list of apps and left-click any program you would like to remove, and select Uninstall.

Uninstall or disable your anti-virus

If you are using any anti-virus program other than Microsoft Windows Defender, you should disable or remove it before upgrading to Windows 11. I have seen anti-virus programs slow down an upgrade and even cause it to fail.

You can save yourself a headache or two by at least disabling your anti-virus software. Although uninstalling is the best option, disabling should work just as well.

Upgrade to Windows 11

So, if you haven't yet been prompted to upgrade to Windows 11 through Windows Update and your computer has a TPM 2.0 component enabled, you can manually upgrade your computer using the Windows 11 Installation Assistant. Just download it and run it.

Windows 11 Installation Assistant

After upgrading to Windows 11

Now that you have a new operating system, you will want to ensure you have all of the latest and greatest drivers for the components inside your computer. First, you should check for driver updates on the website of your computer or motherboard manufacturer. After that, if you have a dedicated graphics card, you should look for updated drivers for it. This will help ensure that your computer runs Windows 11 smoothly and efficiently.

What you can do if you do not want to use OneDrive

Cloud-based storage is fantastic. You can access your data from any location. But what if you do not want your personal data stored on the cloud? What if you just want all of your personal data stored on your local computer only? If that is the case, here is what you can do if you do not want to use Microsoft OneDrive.

What you can do if you do not want to use OneDrive

Microsoft OneDrive is an excellent cloud-based storage solution and can be extremely valuable for backing up data. However, the problem I see with my customers is that most novice Windows users don't know what it is or how they ended up using it.

The explanation is simple: When you create a new user in Windows, whether it is when you first start your new computer or add a user, Windows prompts you to log in with a Microsoft account. When that new user logs in, OneDrive is automatically enabled by default.

There are several different ways to get rid of OneDrive from your computer. You can disable it, unlink it from your computer, or completely uninstall it. But when all is said and done, you may have to manually restore your user shell folders to their original locations (more on that later).

How to unlink OneDrive from your user account

  1. Right-click the OneDrive icon OneDrive iconin the system tray (located at the bottom right corner of the screen).
  2. Select Settings from the context menu that appears.
  3. In the Microsoft OneDrive dialog box, go to the Account tab.
  4. Left-click on the Unlink this PC shortcut.
  5. A warning message appears telling you that locally stored files will remain in place while online versions will be deleted. Left-click on the Unlink account button.
  6. The Set up OneDrive dialog box should appear. Left-click the X in the upper right-hand corner to close the dialog box.

Now that OneDrive is no longer syncing your data, you can either disable OneDrive from starting or uninstall it. However, you might notice that some of your user shell folders (Desktop, Documents, and Pictures) were not returned to their original locations. We will take a look at those later in this article.

How to disable OneDrive in Windows

  1. Right-click on the Start Windows logo key button to bring up the Power User menu.
  2. Left-click on Task Manager.

or

  1. Press CTRL + ALT + DEL all at the same time.
  2. From the security screen that appears, left-click on Task Manager.

or

  1. Right-click on an empty area of the Taskbar.
  2. On the context menu that appears, left-click on Task Manager.

Sometimes, the first time you run Task Manager, it will only display running apps. You have to left-click the More details arrow to view all the tabs. The location of the tabs varies from Windows 10 (across the top) to Windows 11 (down the left side).

Once the tabs are displayed, left-click on Startup (Windows 10) or Startup apps (Windows 11). From here, all you have to do is highlight OneDrive and select the Enable / Disable button. Restart your computer so the changes take effect.

How to uninstall Microsoft OneDrive

There are two (2) ways to uninstall OneDrive: the Settings app or the Control Panel.

How to uninstall Microsoft OneDrive using the Settings app

Windows 11

  1. Left-clicking on the Start button Windows logo to bring up the Start menu.
  2. In the list of pinned apps on the Start menu, left-click on Settings.
  3. In the left-hand column, left-click on Apps.
  4. In the right-hand column, left-click on Installed apps.
  5. The right-hand column displays a list of all the installed apps. Find Microsoft OneDrive, left-click on the three (3) horizontal dots (...) on the right, and select Uninstall.

Windows 10

  1. Left-click on the Start Windows logo menu and select Settings (the gear icon).
  2. Left-click on Apps.
  3. In the right-hand column, Apps and features will be displayed. Left-click on Microsoft OneDrive and select Uninstall.

How to uninstall Microsoft OneDrive using the Control Panel

Windows 11

  1. Left-click on the Start Windows logo key button to bring up the Start menu.
  2. In the upper right-hand corner of the Start menu, left-click on All apps.
  3. Scroll down the list of programs and left-click on Windows Tools.
  4. Double left-click on the Control Panel.

Windows 10

  1. Left-click on the Start Windows logo button to bring up the Start menu.
  2. Scroll down the list of programs until you get to Windows System, and then left-click on it to expand it.
  3. Left-click on Control Panel.

By default, the Control Panel opens up in the category view but can be changed to large or small icons. A pull-down menu in the top-right corner labeled View by: allows you to change the view.

  • If viewing the Control Panel by Category, left-click on Uninstall a program under Programs.
  • If viewing by Large/Small Icons, left-click Programs and Features.

A list of all the programs installed will appear. Left-click on Microsoft OneDrive and select the Uninstall button at the top of the list of programs.

How to restore the location of your user shell folders back to default

Now that you have either disabled, unlinked, or uninstalled OneDrive, you must check and see where your user shell folders are located. By default, OneDrive moves your Desktop, Documents, and Pictures folders to a folder under your user profile (C:\Users\YourUserName\OneDrive).

The easiest way to check is to open File Explorer by left-clicking the manilla folder icon on the Taskbar or pressing the Windows logo key Windows logo key + E. Right-click on any of the Quick access links and left-click on Properties from the context menu that appears. Left-click on the Location tab and check where that folder is located.

If it points to the OneDrive folder inside your user profile (C:\Users\YourUserName\OneDrive), you have two choices: You can leave them right where they are or change them back to default.

Location tab on the properties of a Desktop special folder

While checking the properties of your user shell folders, you can also restore them to their default location(s). Just left-click the Restore Default button in the lower left-hand corner of the folder properties.

You may get a dialog box pop-up that tells you that the folder you are trying to move does not exist in the new location and asks if you want to create it. Just left-click on Yes and proceed to restore the folder its original location.

At this point your user shell folders should be back in their original default location(s). But if you encounter an error when trying to restore your user shell folders, something similar to Can't move the folder because there is a folder in the same location that can't be redirected. Access is denied. then you will need to modify the Registry.

The truth about user shell folders is that they are just entries in the Registry and can be modified using the Registry Editor. But remember that editing the registry incorrectly can cause your computer to not operate correctly and possibly not even boot up, so be very careful when editing the registry.

If you do not feel comfortable editing the registry, don't hesitate to contact a local computer repair shop, like Geeks in Phoenix, for assistance. The first thing you need to do is open the Registry Editor.

Remember that changing the location of user shell folders in the registry does not actually move your files back to that location. You will have to manually move them from the OneDrive folder to the location you specify in the registry.

How to restore the location of your user shell folders using the Registry Editor

  1. Bring up the Run dialog box by either:
    Pressing the Windows logo key Windows logo key + R
    or
    Right-click on the Windows logo Windows logo key on the Start Menu or press the Windows logo key Windows logo key + X and then select Run
  2. In the Run dialog box that appears, type regedit and select OK. If you're prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.

Once you open the Registry Editor, let's backup the registry first.

  1. With the Registry Editor open, highlight Computer in the left-hand column to backup the complete registry.
  2. Left-click on the File pull-down menu and left-click on Export.
  3. Select the location and a descriptive file name for the backup file, then left-click on Save.

Now, let's change the location of your user shell folders in the Registry.

  1. Verify that the folders you want to redirect to (Desktop, Documents, Pictures, etc.) currently exist inside your user profile folder (C:\Users\YourUserName). If they do not, then you will need to create them before proceeding.
  2. With the Registry Editor open, navigate to the following key:
    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\User Shell Folders
    The Registry Editor open to the user shell folders registry keys
  3. In the right-hand column, right-click on the Name of the value you want to change and select Modify... from the context menu.
  4. Enter either the default value for that folder from the table below or the path to the actual folder (C:\Users\YourUserName\Documents). Make sure the actual folder exists before changing the folder key.
  5. Log off or restart your computer for the registry change(s) to take effect.

Default user shell folder registry values

Registry key name Folder Data (default value)
{374DE290-123F-4565-9164-39C4925E467B} Downloads %USERPROFILE%\Downloads
Desktop Desktop %USERPROFILE%\Desktop
Favorites Favorites %USERPROFILE%\Favorites
My Music Music %USERPROFILE%\Music
My Pictures Pictures %USERPROFILE%\Pictures
My Video Videos %USERPROFILE%\Videos
Personal Documents %USERPROFILE%\Documents

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